Arnold Schoenberg’s fascination with numerology, and the fact that he was a superstitious bastard, led to his morbid obsession with the number 13. Born in 1874 on 13 September, he believed that the number 13 would also play a part in his death. Because the numerals seven and six add up to 13, Schoenberg was convinced that his 76th year would mark the end of his life. Checking the calendar for 1951, he saw to his horror that 13 July fell on a Friday. When that day came, he kept to his bed in an effort to reduce the chance of an accident. Shortly before midnight, his wife entered the bedroom to say good night and to reassure him that his fears had been foolish, whereupon, Schoenberg gasped the word “harmony” and expired.

The time of his death was 23:47, 13 minutes before midnight, on Friday 13 July, in his 76th year.

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